Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Functional Recovery from Cancer and its Treatment

Special professorship established by the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, the Dutch Paramedical Institute and the Amsterdam UMC (Vumc and the AMC’s Master’s programme in Evidence Based Practice in Healthcare)

More and more people are living with the aftermath of cancer and cancer treatment. Often this results in a decline in their activity levels and problems participating in society. The professorship focuses on the promotion and improvement of supportive care during and after the treatment of cancer by contributing to the professionalisation of paramedics.

Supportive care is important during all stages of cancer treatment. It helps patients to start treatment well-prepared and cope better with it, and also aids recovery.

Because of the chronic nature of health issues in cancer patients, supportive paramedical care and rehabilitation play an increasingly important role. Many healthcare providers in these sectors are currently insufficiently equipped to effectively help cancer patients progress toward functional recovery. This is partly because insufficient attention is given to cancer in basic training, but there’s also insufficient research to serve as a solid basis for evidence-based interventions.

In addition, almost three-quarters of cancer patients are also dealing with an additional condition (co-morbidity), making their care needs especially complex. Treatment guidelines for paramedics as they relate to cancer tend to be based on research that excludes comorbidity. This often requires modifications to treatment plans for individual patients, demanding high levels of knowledge and insight on the part of the healthcare practitioner.

These complex care needs call for interdisciplinary collaboration. It is important that healthcare providers such as physiotherapists, exercise therapists, occupational therapists and nutritionists are familiar with one another’s disciplines. In addition, the development of e-health can increase patient autonomy and support healthcare providers in delivering care.

The professorship seeks to contribute to the quality of supportive care for cancer patients by conducting applied research and developing professional training programmes.

Published by  Faculty of Health 20 July 2023